Reema Khrais

Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.

A North Carolina native, Reema began her radio career with Carolina Connection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an anchor and reporter. She later interned at The Story, and traveled to Cairo, Egypt to produce stories from the 2011 revolution. Her work has also appeared on CNN, The Takeaway and On The Media.

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Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Proposed Senate Budget Boosts Salaries For Teachers Without Tenure, Cuts Teaching Assistants

Credit Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers in the Senate have released their budget plan, which includes the finer details of how they would pay for an 11 percent salary increase for teachers who agree to forego tenure protections. But Senate budget writers would take about $390 million out of k-12 funding. That would cut the money for teacher assistants by nearly half.

Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman says the state would keep teacher assistants for kindergarten and first grades – but get rid of about 7400 assistants in second and third grades. 

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Education
11:56 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Senate Republicans Offer 11 Percent Raises For Teachers Who Give Up Tenure

Senate leaders gathered for a press conference on Wednesday morning to release a plan about raising teacher pay.

Senate Republicans released a plan on Wednesday to provide what they call the "largest teacher pay raise in state history." The plan calls for an average 11 percent raise for teachers as long as they give up career status, otherwise known as tenure. Teachers who choose to not give up their job protections would stay on the current pay plan and not receive any increases. 

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Education
6:32 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

NC Bill Would Trim Funding For School Buses

Credit Dave DeWitt

 State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce funds for school buses over the next five years. 

The House bill would limit the number of spare buses and their replacement parts, while revising the state inspection process for school bus maintenance.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Forsyth), says the legislation would make school bus operations more efficient, while saving about $19 million in recurring funds over the years.

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Education
3:07 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

NC School Districts May Face Problems With Online Tests

Credit Guilford County Schools

State officials are warning school districts about technical problems they may face with upcoming online exams. Hundreds of thousands of students may have to go back to paper and pencil for their final exams this month. 

State education officials say they can't guarantee their computer system will be able to handle the Career and Technical Education exams. The issue would affect about 350,000 students. 

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Education
8:38 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Sophomore's New Grading Scale Would Make 90+ An A

15-year-old Adam Geringer poses next to a bill he wrote to change North Carolina's grading scale so that an A is 90 - 100, instead of 93-100.
Credit Adam Geringer

 In North Carolina, all public schools are required to grade students on a seven-point scale. That means you get an A if you score between a 93 and 100, and a B if it falls between an 85 and 92.

But one high school student is trying to change that - he says the current scale is unfair and is asking state leaders to consider adopting a 10-point scale instead so that a 90 to a 100 is an A. 

Members of the Broughton High School debate team begin their practice as soon as most students clear out the Raleigh school. 

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Education
5:16 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

NC Senate Pushes Forward Sweeping Regulatory Reform Bill

Credit Dave DeWitt

  The North Carolina Senate has tentatively passed a sweeping, 62-page bill that would make several changes to state regulations.

The proposal includes provisions that cover a lot of ground – everything from banning cursing on the highways to increasing penalties for parking in handicapped spaces or for violating endangered species.  

Many Senate leaders say the bill is meant to make state rule-making more efficient, while increasing protections for the environment and public.

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Education
4:24 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Judge: Law Repealing Teacher Tenure Is Unconstitutional

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 A Wake County superior court judge ruled Friday that a state law ending teacher tenure is unconstitutional, arguing the state cannot take away the due process rights of teachers.  

Judge Robert Hobgood ordered a permanent injunction against the law, which would eliminate career status – commonly known as teacher tenure – by 2018. His ruling also said that the law violated the constitutional protection of contracts, and the prohibition against taking a person’s property.

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Education
5:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

McCrory Unveils Budget, Teachers Call For Bigger Raises

Credit Wikimedia commons

Governor Pat McCrory released his $21 billion budget on Wednesday, setting aside $262.9 million for teacher raises and state employees. 

The governor and lawmakers have made it clear that teacher pay will be a major priority for this year’s short session, which is a time meant for lawmakers to adjust the budget approved last year. 

Teachers held their own “day of action” on Wednesday, the first day of the session. They outlined their demands and concerns in a morning press conference held by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

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Education
9:49 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

N.C. Supreme Court Allows Voucher Program To Continue

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 The North Carolina Supreme Court has overturned a lower court’s order to halt the state’s voucher program.

That means the program can go on – at least for now. It’s a program that gives low-income families scholarships of up to $4,200 to help send their children to private schools.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood issued an injunction earlier this year to stop the program, siding with critics who say it’s unconstitutional because the private school scholarships are funded with taxpayer dollars.

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Education
5:36 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

NC Attorneys Say Thousands Of Students Not Receiving Basic Education

Credit Guilford County Schools

 Attorneys for some low-income school districts say the state is failing on its commitment to provide all students with a sound, basic education.

The lawyers are asking for a hearing in August and a written plan from the state as to how it intends to meet the basic education mandate outlined in the decades-old landmark lawsuit, known as the Leandro case.

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